Kielty set for Empire return

Cat Deeley married Patrick Kielty
Cat Deeley married Patrick Kielty

ULSTER comedian Patrick Kielty is preparing to return to his roots to play a gig at The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club to celebrate the world famous Belfast club’s 20th birthday.

Newlywed Kielty – who recently married television presenter Cat Deely - will take to the hallowed stage at the Empire where he got his start in show business.

The gig will be held on November 6.

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the club, ticket prices have been rolled back to the 1992 rate of just £3.50.

Club organiser and comedy impresario Jackie Hamilton said the gig was arranged to say a big thank you to all the people who have supported the Empire Laughs Back over the past two decades.

He said: “Paddy hasn’t played the club since 1996 and we thought what better time to get him back than our 20th birthday. He is really looking forward to treading the boards of the Empire Comedy Club again.”

The city’s entertainment scene has changed dramatically since October 13, 1992 when the Empire Laughs Back, featuring a fresh faced young Queen’s psychology student called Patrick Kielty, first opened its doors.

Pre-ceasefire Belfast was a grim place to be but inside the Empire was an escape from the Troubles, as Paddy with his trademark balaclava, poked fun at the posturing of politicians and paramilitaries.

The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club was the brainchild of former BBC Executive Producer of Comedy, Jackie Hamilton who invited Kielty to join him in setting up Northern Ireland’s first comedy club.

The comedy club was an instant success and had punters queuing around the corner from the opening night. 

Hamilton says, “When I came down to the club on the first night there was a large crowd queuing ‘round the corner – it was a wet Tuesday night – I thought there was a bomb scare!”

The club was key to preparing and launching Patrick Kielty on his television career which included the iconic PK Tonight entertainment show, which Hamilton produced and Kielty presented for BBC NI in 1995.

Many world class comedians have performed at the Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club since it opened its doors in 1992.

These include: Lee Evans, Ardal O’ Hanlon (who will perform at the club on October 23), Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock, Lee Mack, Bill Bailey, John Bishop, Kevin Bridges, Michael Mc Intyre, Tommy Tiernan, Russell Howard, Ross Nobel and Dara O’ Briain.

Admittance to the Patrick Kielty gig on November 6 is strictly by ticket only. Tickets are on sale at the Tuesday night comedy club in the run up to the event.

To find out about all the upcoming shows visit: or follow it on Facebook at Empire Comedy Club, Belfast or on Twitter @empire_comedy.